Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pretty Good Perimeter Security [Originally published Feb 16]

I've been checking out a new security appliance from Novell, that combines a firewall with a virus scanner [btw I don't work for Novell or related companies!]. It comes as a software package, running on Linux, or as a stand-alone appliance. Even before I saw this product (and I think there must be others just like it), I thought that combining a firewall with a virus scanner would be pretty good perimeter security for most office networks. The firewall catches unauthorized traffic and the virus scanner catches email and browser viruses/spyware. As far I can tell, it works by scanning all files that have been downloaded from the Internet through email or through HTTP.

I think any network which doesn't have protection equivalent to a firewall/virus scanner at the perimeter is basically a sitting duck. You can't trust users to scan all of their files, and once they downloaded a piece of malware into your network, your firewall becomes almost useless. Unfortunately securing the network doesn't end there because most software programs contain bugs which make them succeptible through other means.


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